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Skin safety in sunshine for people with diabetes

Skin Safety in Sunshine for People with DiabetesWhile this magazine is focused on living with diabetes, the fact is that our overall health matters too. We may have a blood sugar disorder, but our bods are all wrapped up in skin, so we need to take care of that too.

In the UK rates of melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, have doubled in the last 20 years, with 14,000 cases and over 2,200 deaths registered in 2015. Exposure to sunlight is attributed as a high risk factor with number of UK residents travelling abroad having doubled between 1980 to 1989. In 2014, skin cancer was the second most common type of cancer diagnosed for 15 to 49 year olds. Males are more likely to get skin cancer and the rates of skin cancer in men have increased at a greater rate than in women over the 20 years from 1995.

The UK’s leading skin cancer charity, Melanoma UK, have provided their top five tips for staying protected in the sun:

1. Slip, slop, slap
An average body needs a full shot glass size of suncream to cover it adequately, and it should be applied around 20 minutes before you go outside into sunshine. Apply sun cream again after going into water and reapply every two hours. You should really be putting on Factor 50 as a sunscreen. Apparently a lot of people won’t use factor 50 because it stops them from getting a tan, but if you don’t know it already, a tan is the body’s way of protecting itself from skin damage. Skin is our largest organ. Hypothetically, we wouldn’t leave another organ to burn in the sun would we?

2. Bin the base tan
The idea of a base tan from a sunbed protecting skin in sunshine is a myth. The process of acquiring a tan damages the skin, with the skin turning a brown colour to protect itself. Short, sharp sessions on a sun bed can be up to 15 times stronger than the Mediterranean mid-day sun.

3. Avoid the lobster look
The early evening sun can still be dangerous, especially in countries with warmer climates. Suncream should be applied again after showering or utilise an aftersun that offers sun protection. Getting too much sun and going all red like a boiled lobster is not a good look and it’ s no good for your skin. Avoid it!

4. Getting those vitamins
We’ve often done coverage in this magazine about the link between low levels of Vitamin D being associated with diagnoses of Type 2 diabetes. But any decent health care professional will tell you that if you want to make sure your Vitamin D levels are correct, get outside for 15 minutes a day (you only need a brief period of exposure of around 10-15 minutes in the sun to give your body its daily dose of vitamin D), eat a good diet, and take a supplement if you think you need to. Sunbeds are definitely OUT. Don’t be tempted. They really are not good for your skin and don’t get your skin to produce any Vitamin D either.

5. Check yourself, before you wreck yourself
Keep a check on our skin and make regular checks, using pay day as a guide, if you notice anything unusual always seek medical advice.

This news item first appeared in Desang Diabetes Magazine, our free-to-receive digital journal. We cover diabetes news, diabetes management equipment (diabetes kit) and news about food suitable for a diabetic diet. Go to the top of this page to sign up – we just need your email address.

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